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Readers Respond: Tell us about your experiences with kidney disease in pets

Responses: 35


Kidney failure is common in dogs and cats, especially as they age, called chronic renal failure.

Lilies (for cats), antifreeze, and grapes and raisins, are all common substances that may cause acute (sudden) kidney failure in pets.

The signs seen with kidney failure may be dramatic - failure to urinate, anorexia, vomiting. Often more subtle changes are seen, often attributed to "just old age." Knowing the signs of kidney failure will help you get your pet to the vet sooner to begin treatment.

What signs did you notice, and how do you cope with your pet's kidney disease and manage clinical signs at home?

Share your experiences

medication ingestion

My 7 month old dog ingested a tube of calcitrol. He has been in the hospital for 10 days now. His bun was too high for the machine to read.phosphorus was also too high to read.he had pancreatitis, stomach ulcers, pneumonia, and elevated liver function.He now is doing much better,bun is down to 101,phosphorous is normal,pneumonia is resolving and he is more alert.I am so grateful for Dr Joe at Suwanee Animal Hospital for not giving up on Charlie.After day 6 it seemed hopeless but on lucky day 7 he began to improve.He can come home when his bun and creatinine are normal and when he can eat.
—Guest miley

Kidney Failure in Dog

tracker the 10.5 English springer started loosing weight, not eating and not very mobile. the vet said his BUN numbers were off the charts. hes had IV for 4 days now. his number only came down to 118 so we are testing tommarow again for final results for improvement. regardless we are bringing him home for how ever much time is allowed but not unnecessary. what I kick myself for is for several months hes been eating dirt and I wasn't aware that that was an actual sign he was trying to tell me something. I just figured he was just being his odd self and needed more vitamins. watch for that! whatever the outcome of this hes had a great life and he will always have a place in my heart. time to learn how to do care at home now.
—Guest Laura

Two bouts of acute renal failure

About four months ago, my 11-year-old kitty suddenly seemed unresponsive. I rushed him to the emergency vet. His kidney values were "record setting" and they strongly suggested I put him to sleep. They couldn't identify an infection, and I couldn't think of anything poisonous he'd eaten. I pushed for treatment, anyway. After four days on IV, his numbers had come down almost to normal. I continued working with a vet who had me give him sub-q fluids at home and a special diet. Well, over three months after the initial diagnosis, he began acting "off." A blood test confirmed that he was again in pretty severe renal failure. Again, he was on an IV for two days and given anti-biotics in case of infection, but this time, his numbers worsened. I knew the kindest thing would be to let him go, though when I picked him up, he still looked ok. He spent a nice week at home, and I was able to say "goodbye." As soon as he started looking more uncomfortable than happy, I let go. Hardest decision ever
—Guest Al's mom

My dog was diagnosed w/ kidney failure

My dog was diagnosed w/ kidney failure and I medicated her at home 3 wks before having to put her to sleep. Don't be selfish like I was not willing to let her go until she was vomiting nonstop and asking me to do it. If u love ur dog as I did it will kill ur heart to watch the diesese progress I promise! She did feel better at times and played and gave me time to take lots of pictures and video Memories but her last night was horrible. She wouldn't eat her prescribed food so I'd make her boiled chicken and feed her. That night when she started vomiting it smelled just like rotted chicken and I will never know if it was that or if it was just time and her kidneys had stopped working and the toxins were just too much. I loved her so much that I was willing to do anything money could buy her more time with me. In some ways it was worth it but the pain in my heart now is unbearable. I layed on the floor beside her as the vet administered the injection and she went to sleep.
—Guest Ba-Lou

Kidney failure

I noticed that my 9 yr old yellow Lab had lost weight, about 10 lbs to be exact and she lost it fairly quickly. The next day she was vomiting a clear foamy substance. I took her to the vet and the blood tests showed kidney failure. Creatanine level was at 9 and I can't remember what her BUN level was. They gave her a subcutaneous injection and sent us home with renal food. She didn't like the renal diet and continued to loose weight, I started feeding her small amounts of diced, poached, boneless skinless chicken breast on her dry renal diet. She ate this for a while, but stopped eating completely toward the end. From diagnosis date, she was dead in three weeks and three days. I don't think the vet did near enough for her and I will never go back there. In six weeks she went from a healthy, active 90 lbs dog to dead. In the future I will do annual blood tests on my dogs once they hit age 5 to monitor kidney function among other things. Heartbreaking, she was my best friend.


Just got the bad news today. Took her in yesterday because she was lethargic and had stopped eating for two days. Vet said she was dehydrated but he didn't know why. He put her on sub q fluids and ordered labs. They showed kidney failure and all the numbers so high he's never seen a cat recover. He recommended euthanasia. I elected to bring her home for the weekend. So far she seems to be resting peacefully. I know its too much to hope that she will go in her sleep. She's only four years old. Its breaking my heart.
—Guest Deborah

hereditary kidney failure

I breed and show dogs one of my show dogs at age 10died of kidney failure is father died at age 9 of kidney failure his grandfather died of a 9 of kidney failure but yet breeders keep reading these dogs
—Guest Mae

My sweet, sweet ol' guy

My 19 year old orange tabby died two days ago. He showed signs of renal failure and thyroid issues for two years. His weight decreased slowly, but he drank tons of water daily until his last two days. I only wanted to keep him comfortable and didn't want to have to give him complicated procedures and diet changes. He greeted me every evening when I came home from work, even on his very last day. He jumped up on the sink to drink water from the faucet, but seemed confused once he was up there and didn't know how to drink. I then took him to the kitchen to get some food (noticed he barely ate his food that day and none of the snacks that he loved). I knew I needed to take him to the emergency room. Once there, it was like he knew it was time to go. He stood up to be weighed (5.7 lbs - pretty much skin and bones), and then lay down on the vet's table, never to get up again. We said our goodbyes and he went peacefully. My poor, poor guy. I hope he wasn't in pain.
—Guest Patricia

Mastiff with CRF and Kidney Infection

Two months ago, my 9-year old mastiff had seizures so we rushed her to the vet. She was diagnosed with stage 3 chronic renal failure. Our vet said it was due to age and sent her home with Hills K/D. I made her low-phosphorus snacks and popsicles for added hydration. I gave her Tums to bind the phosphorus and Pepcid for her nausea. For a while, she did better and her labs showed an improvement in kidney function. But then I noticed some mucus in her urine. She had a severe kidney infection. While we waited for the culture, our vet put her on Baytril and that didn't work. Then, he put her on Cephalexin. That didn't work and made her ill. Finally, the culture came back, showing that she had three organisims in her urine. Our vet switched her to Cipro. Now, she's very ill--vomitting and not eating or drinking. The Cipro is making her ill, but without it, the infection will kill her. I'm not sure what to do now. There are no good options, but I think it's time to put her to sleep.
—Guest BB

Haley - 16 year old Calico

Haley was my baby, picked her out as a kitten and she was my best friend for the next 16 and a half years! She gradually lost weight (6 or 7 lbs) over a year but all of her blood tests and organ functions were normal so the vet said there was really nothing they could do. She had an insatiable appetite for food and water but they promised me she did not have diabetes. In December she stopped eating which was a sure sign something was wrong. Took her to the vet and they said she was severely dehydrated even though she was taking in ridiculous amounts of water. They diagnosed her with renal failure and gave her 6 weeks to live. She was living on strawberry pediasure for the next 3 days, on day 4 I woke up and couldn't find her. She was under the bed and couldn't walk. She had lost complete control of her back end and she would just fall over if she tried to walk. I made an appt to have her put down but she died peacefully at home just minutes later. We buried her in our yard :)
—Guest Jill


My 17 yr old Siamese was Diagnosist with renal failure a couple months back. Until 2 days ago her symptoms have been a LOT of water drinking and urinating and pacing..she would squat anywhere.. we currently have her crated awaiting Dr. appointment tomorrow.. She has NEVER peed anyplace but her cat box. I have two in different locations in the house and they are ALWAYS kept scooped.

Callie my beloved

Callie, broke her leg 2-19-2013, her kidneys were so bad her age and weight were also aginst her, Dr, Miller said her chances of coming through surgery were slim and that she would never be well again. I, bought NuVet for her kidneys but they didn't help, . She passed yesterday had to have her put to sleep. I, was with her to the end she is no longer suffering but my heart is broken Priscilla
—Guest priscilla

Renal Failure in a small Shih Tzu

My 5 YOA baby (sara) died quickly (a couple of mths after diagnosis). I hv been inundated by some rodent. All I see is mostly urine. I cleaned a small pile of defacation but don't see much of that. They hv ruined my carpet, hallway carpet & my bed(they go up in the box springs). That is where they stay, underneath my bed?? Not only am I sleeping there, but before I lost Sara, there were also two dogs. I am convinced that the urine is what killed Sara. She had just had surgery, weighed eight lbs which she lost quickly & walked back & forth on that urine filled carpet. I don't know what it is. I haven't seen it but it roams at night. Couple nights ago, one knocked a bottle of pills off my night stand, right next to my head. Their hair is gray fur. It is not mice or rats. I have tried every trap there is. My other dog is constantly licking her feet until they swell. Again, walking on urine, I'm sure. I had C.Dif and worry about myself. There hv been exterminators but nothing. Any idea?
—Guest Joan

My oscar

My Pomeranian of 14 years suddenly declined in health just before Christmas. He had arthritis but lived quite comfortably then all of a sudden from an active dog that still ran and barked just stopped barking and looked quite weak.i was in and out of the vet for weeks getting him arthritis injections thinking it was that,then his health just dropped,wouldn't eat or drink very little, then a week ago he started throwing up and couldnt keep food or water down so went back to vet who to told me to keep him way from fatty foods, he was on boiled rice with tuna/chicken but he couldnt eat,was weak and would stand in one spot and look at the floor,he found it hard to walk just lay down all day.2 days ago he threw up again and in the morning he back legs gave way and I put him in his bed he had a seizure and was howling so loud maybe from the pain he had.raced him to the vet,was put down,will never know what was really wrong,vet wanted to do X-rays but my boy was suffering,had to let him go
—Guest Maria

Renal failure due to Waggin Train jerky

My 6 yr old male Maltese/Bichon mix fell ill in Jan 2012. Vomiting, lethargic, tremors, renal failure, not eating, weight and hair loss, jaundice, excessive drinking and urination. After several trips to the vet and near death in March 2012. After research on the internet, I found I wasn't alone. My Buster had been poisoned by tainted dog treats. He is still in renal failure but is on 8 medications a day. He has his urine taken and tested, at first it was every month now he has it tested every 3 months. He is stable as of now 1-6-13. But will be on meds for the rest of his shortened life. All because of a product that is Made in China. My Buster is still alive but fighting to keep his kidneys functioning every day. Some others online have lost their furbabies due to these tainted treats. Please research what treats and food you give your pets and give them nothing Made in China! What an awful experience for me and my furbaby!

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